Paul Laster Interviews Hermann Nitsch on ARTPULSE
One of the founders of the radical art movement Viennese Actionism in the 1960s, Hermann Nitsch is widely known for his actions and paintings created for his ritualistic Theater of Orgies and Mysteries. Now 78, the Austrian artist has created thousands of artworks during hundreds of performances over his very active career. He recently took a moment out of his busy schedule to discuss his controversial art with Paul Laster (ARTPULSE) from his castle outside of Vienna.
Here is an excerpt:
Paul Laster – How did you come up with the idea for your Aktionens [Actions] and the Orgien Mysterien Theater [Theater of Orgies and Mysteries]?
Hermann Nitsch – It was a long time ago. I would say 1958, when I was very involved with music and theater in Zurich, and I tried to develop a new kind of Gesamkunstwerk [a total work of art]. I was very influenced by Wagner and Scriabin. It was very important to me to not make a classic form of theater. It was important to not use a classic form of poetry. I didn’t want the audience to have to use words, rather I wanted them to use their senses. It was important that they directly engage smells, tastes, touch and to see and hear. What I did was very close to happenings and performance. I wanted to develop real events, real happenings, and so I began my theater to create these kinds of actions…